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Keeping a Journal

Many candidates report to us that journalling is challenge, so here are some resources we have put together to support you in your learning.  Read about one candidate's experience of journaling.

Format and Frequency

Once a week is fine with me, twice a month, or even with larger gaps when "life intervenes." I am more interested in knowing that the journal format and timing supports the candidate's learning, which for me is the primary purpose.  I also want to agree to a format that gives me the information I am looking for. The first two items are from the assessment document; that last two are mine. I suggest that candidates try out the journal outline in part III, to see if it supports you in charting your own learning progress over time.

~ Rita Herzog

From the Certification Preparation Packet (CPP)



We would like you to keep a regular record of your NVC learning, growth and insights. Use journaling as a means to explore (question, reflect, and learn) rather than to simply record the internal and external events in your life. The purpose of this journal is to communicate to the assessor your awareness and skills in living, knowing, and teaching the NVC process in a way that is consistent with the integrity and spirit of NVC. Please type your journals if possible, and have the intent to be concise, rather than tell long stories.  Keep a journal for a minimum of six months; one year will better demonstrate your growth and development over time.


Journal content:

How I am using NVC in my everyday life: in relationships; at work; stuck places; inner jackal dialogues; celebrations; cleaning up “messes” (all demonstrating NVC skills by conveying observations, feelings, needs, and requests).  For example, replay in writing using NVC: (1) interactions in which you did not communicate or respond the way you wanted. (2) what you did to process the interaction internally, and (3) how would you have wanted to do it differently.


If you want to protect the identity of certain people, either use initials or another name. (Refer to the enclosed document entitled "Some Things I Might Do" for more suggestions on journaling.)


Your journal is considered to be confidential.  It will not be shared outside of the people involved in your assessment.  It will be returned to you at the end of the pre-assessment session.






2. I would regularly journal about moments of stuckness or conflict in my life and re-play them in writing, using NVC. For example, in recalling an interaction where I felt disconnected from another person, I would journal about what I was observing, feeling, and needing at various points of the interaction. What could I have said or done differently? What prevented me from doing so at that moment? What might the other person have been observing, feeling, needing and requesting?

Suppose I was frustrated with what I heard on TV news tonight: I might use my journal to draft a Giraffe letter to the media commentator. If someone praises me and I notice discomfort, I could try putting their words in my journal and translating them into NVC; do I then hear their message differently? I might celebrate a moment when I used NVC as I would have liked. Or journal about an episode of anger -- "enjoying watching the Jackal show" as I scribble down all my angry thoughts. In re-reading what I wrote, I would look for "should thoughts." Do I hear the needs hidden behind those thoughts?


I would ask myself often, "What am I learning here?" I could also use the (B) questions under "Certification Readiness ABC's" to focus some of my journal entries. Perhaps I would create imaginary scenarios and alternative ways of unfolding them through Jackal or Giraffe. I would journal about places of pain inside, connecting with my own needs, translating inner Jackal dialogues, and exploring requests I might make of myself.




NVC Learning Journal (Rita’s suggestion)


1. Describe a conversation or a situation that was difficult.


2. Then express the jackal show. Were you judging yourself? The other person?


3. Can you restate those judgments and with each judgment identify a feeling, a need and an empathic self-statement?

Feeling ..........

Need ...............

Empathic Statement (all four steps)


4. What did you say in response to the other person?


5. Could you offer empathy to the other person? Did it work? If you could not offer empathy, what stopped you?


6. What did you learn about this exchange that will support you in doing it differently in the future?  What specific steps will increase your skill?


(For example: " I realize that I needed to give myself empathy before I could care enough to offer him empathy.  So for the next two weeks I will do a daily 5-minute self-empathy practice to deepen my skills." OR: " I will spend time this coming week staying with my feelings and deepest needs (in reflection or writing) until I feel a shift, before trying another conversation with this person.")


Then, how about describing another exchange with the same person, 3-6 months down the road.  What is diffrerent this time?  In other words, demonstrate your NVC progress in real life situations.




In the work I’ve done evaluating journals, two key components have emerged as necessary for me to feel ease in an NVC harmony kind of way:

1. Am I emotionally engaged as I read the journal?

2. Does the journal show the person’s growth and development over time?

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